How to mentor STEM: remarkable kids, easy options for a medtech exec’s busy schedule

Sue Moreira, VP of R&D at Beaver-Vistec, a medtech company specializing in eye surgery tools, and I just joined our first panel to mentor STEM kids in Jamaica Plain, a Boston neighborhood, at the  Margarita Muniz Academy’s 3rd Annual Career Day event.

The goals and aspirations of the Margarita Muñiz Academy are extraordinary:

  • Part of the Boston Public School system, it is a dual language high school.
  • Dedicated to preparing citizens and leaders who are fluent in English and Spanish.
  • Their mission: partner with families and community to ensure that every student will be ready for college and to contribute to the community.

That’s Sue in the teacher’s lounge with all the other STEM mentor volunteers under the red fire alarm. The kids were thrilled with her because she is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, and many of them did not speak English (but they are learning!).

STEM Mentor.jpg

This mentoring/career panel was perfect for us – who doesn’t have a busy schedule in medtech?

It was a 4 hour commitment (we hope to be invited back next year) and I told the organizer that as long as I had enough advance notice, I could schedule around it.

We were on a panel of four with Nadia (white scarf, works as an OT at Spaulding Rehab using multiple medical devices for spinal cord injury patients) and Damien, an HIV community counselor. We each had five minutes to tell our relevant personal and professional career stories with an emphasis on our work in STEM. Then, the kids (Grades 9-12) got to ask us questions.

There were many aspiring surgeons, veterinarians, nurses, and therapists in the audince. These kids attended this panel for a reason. They asked us about about the crazy schedules in healthcare, what it is like as women managing men, how we were able to pay for college, how hard we worked and how we balanced career and family.

I only wish I had more time to spend with them. Some came up to meet us afterwards and I was so impressed with their courage and motivation. These kids only need the small push that the Margarita Muñiz Academy is giving them and they are going in the right direction….

Would any of you like to come with me to the next panel event? Alternatively, here is a list of regional and national STEM programs with contact information. Let me know if you sign up and, schedule permitting,  I will happily attend with you!

Regional – Boston area

MIT STEM Outreach

Boston Private Industry Council

Boston Public Schools


Scientista Foundation

Hope to see you soon!